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Shumka production, documentary to be featured on KONTAKT, OMNI

Jun 16, 2021 | Featured, Arts & Culture

Bottom Line Productions for NP-UN.

In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, OMNI television will broadcast Shumka’s theatrical dance production Ancestors & Elders. On KONTAKT Ukrainian TV Network, the documentary Dancing on Eggshells: The Making of Shumka’s Ancestors & Elders will be featured.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring our story of togetherness to so many people,” says Shumka Executive Director Darka Tarnawsky. “We appreciate the support of OMNI and KONTAKT and all the artists, creators, and dancers who brought these unique, powerful stories to life.”

Ancestors & Elders broadcast times on OMNI: OMNI BC – June 21 at 3:00 PM, OMNI Alberta – June 21 at 3:00 PM, OMNI 1 – June 21 at 1:00 PM.

Dancing on Eggshells: The Making of Shumka’s Ancestors & Elders on KONTAKT Ukrainian TV Network: ONTARIO: Thursday – June 17 at 10:00 PM; Sunday – June 20 at 3:00 PM; Monday – June 21 at 4:00 PM; Tuesday – June 22 at 8:00 AM; ALBERTA: Sunday – June 20 at 11:00 AM; Tuesday – June 22 at 9:00 AM; Thursday – June 24 at 2:00 PM; BRITISH COLUMBIA: Sunday – June 20 at 10:00 AM; Tuesday – June 22 at 2:00 PM.

Ancestors & Elders premiered at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, April 27 & 28, 2018.

In a world premiere production featuring a cast of Shumka Dancers and multidisciplinary Indigenous artists, Shumka shared a story of the first Ukrainian newcomers to Canada, exploring the shared values and respected differences between these hopeful settlers and the First Nations people they encounter in a new land.

Survival, for both Indigenous and Ukrainian immigrant people in Alberta, often meant silence: lost stories and connections between our communities help us all survive tremendous loss and struggle. We use dance to begin to break that silence; to remember those who came before us, the traditions they instilled, and the truths they endured.

Directed by Shumka company member, Joseph Hoffman and Indigenous theatre artist, Barry Bilinsky, the production featured a creative team of over 40 Alberta-based designers, artists, story-tellers, musicians and dancers including: story consultation and poetry by Anna Marie Sewell; music by Carissa Klopoushak (TYT I TAM; National Arts Centre Orchestra), Mike Romaniak (Lemon Bucket Orchestra) and Anders Hunter (Eya Hey Nakoda); visual art by Lana Whiskeyjack and Svitlana Kravchuk; costume design by Megan Koshka, with consultation by Melissa-Jo (MJ) Belcourt Moses, Trinity Chopyk and MaryAnn Baziuk; lighting design by Jeff Osterlin; projection design by Elijah Lindenberger; along with guest performances by Running Thunder Dancers, Darlene Auger and more.

Dancing on Eggshells: The Making of Shumka’s Ancestors & Elders premiered Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at Metro Cinema in Edmonton.

The documentary explores the creation of Shumka’s 2018/19 work Ancestors & Elders, a historic union of Cree and Ukrainian culture featuring Shumka and the Running Thunder Dancers and Drummers.

Following Shumka choreographer Joseph Hoffman and Indigenous theatre artist Barry Bilinsky, the film examines the unlikely pair’s creative process as they navigate the difficulties of uniting their respective stories, while dancing around 150 years of cultural baggage. The film offers a glimpse into the artistic process of creating a work that is reflective and respectful of both Cree and Ukrainian culture, all while honouring the traditions of our ancestors with an eye to the path ahead.

Dancing on Eggshells is directed by Edmonton filmmakers Leslie Sereda and Steven Glassman.

Dancing on Eggshells was the Official Selection: Kyiv Film Festival Ukraine) in 2020; Official Selection: Austria International Film Festival in 2020; Official Selection: Atlanta Award-Qualifying Film Festival in 2020; The 2020 Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) 42nd Annual Awards for Journalistic Excellence: Documentary Film Award; and Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association 2020 Rosie Nominations Best Documentary Over 30 Minutes; Best Musical, Comedy or Variety Program or Series; Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity; Best Director (Non-Fiction Over 30 Minutes) Leslie Sereda & Steve Glassman; Best Editor (Non-Fiction over 30 minutes) Leslie Sereda.

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